SANDF Nkandla board of enquiry report due on Thursday


Thursday is D-day for the SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF) board of enquiry to report on all aspects of military involvement in Nkandla, the Presidential homestead in rural KwaZulu-Natal.

Chaired by SA Army Chief, Lieutenant General Vusi Masondo, the board was instituted in January by SANDF Chief, General Solly Shoke. He told Afrikaans daily Beeld he was not prepared to elaborate on “key aspects” of the board or what could emanate from its report.

At the same time the paper said there was “growing tension” between Defence Intelligence (DI) and the State Security Agency. This is because the defence force’s intelligence arm was apparently not consulted on the decision to make Nkandla a national key point.

DI, under the command of Lieutenant General Jeremiah Nyembe, apparently raised objections to the fact it was not consulted about the Nkandla key point status about 18 months ago. This is requirement of the apartheid era National Key Points Act which has not been repealed since democracy in 1994.

According to the Act, DI has to do the risk analysis as regards threats to South Africa’s sovereignty before a building or institution can be declared a national key point.

In her 447 page Nkandla report, titled “Secure in Comfort”, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, pointed out that neither the SANDF (nor its intelligence arm) nor did the SA Police Service comply with the requirements of the National Key Points Act as regards the Presidential homestead.

The paper quoted a source as saying “if Nkandla was illegally declared a key point, who is going to declassify it when Zuma’s term of office is over? It appears a precedent has been set.
“Government departments can’t bend the law and do as they want do.”

The Nkandla key point issue is, according to the paper, the second time in the past year that the Department of Defence and Military Veterans (DoDMV) has been left out of decision making on national key points.

Last March’s apparently unauthorised landing by a privately chartered jet aircraft at AFB Waterkloof, dubbed “l’affaire Guptagate” by some, first saw the Centurion air force base named as a national key point. It was subsequently changed to a “strategic military site”.

Nkandla and Guptagate saw many questions asked about national key points leading to a debate in Parliament and eventually to a private member’s bill being submitted. The Protection of Critical Infrastructure Bill was tabled by Lindiwe Mazibuko, the DA Parliamentary leader, just prior to the house rising ahead of the May 7 national and provincial elections. It was available for public input and comment until mid-April and will, in all probability, be debated later in the year when the new Parliament is sitting.